The chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people had it in for Dora Lee. The conniving rascals on the farm next door want her land for nefarious purposes; her estranged daughter could be seeking vengeance; her grandson wants money for art school; and then there's that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. Does Craddock still have what it takes to find the killer? In this debut novel, the strong, compelling voice of Samuel Craddock illuminates the grandeur and loneliness of the central Texas landscape and reveals the human foibles of the residents in a small Texas town-their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues.
“A Killing at Cotton Hill enchants with memorable characters and a Texas backdrop as authentic as bluebonnets and scrub cedars. A splendid debut by a gifted writer who knows the human heart. Definitely a candidate for both the Edgar and Agatha awards for Best First Novel.""
—Carolyn Hart, author of Escape from Paris
""Terry Shames does small-town Texas crime right, and A Killing at Cotton Hill is the real thing. It has humor, insight, and fine characters. Former chief of police Samuel Craddock is a man readers are going to love, and they'll want to visit him and Jarrett Creek, Texas, often.""
—Bill Crider, author of Compound Murder, A Dan Rhodes Mystery
""Not just another retired lawman, Samuel Craddock is wizened but not hardened, rusty but still plenty sharp, a self-described 'sentimental old fool' who can still run circles around the current chief of police. More than man enough to carry Shames's new series, Samuel anchors a compelling cast of characters that imbues A Killing at Cotton Hill with style, heart, and a generous helping of rural sensibility.""
—Sophie Littlefield, bestselling, award-winning author of Garden of Stones
""Samuel Craddock is a man you want to have covering your back, and Terry Shames's small Texas town is so real you can taste the dirt. I heard Texas in every line of dialogue and could see the houses and the people as clearly as if I were sitting on a front porch in Jarrett Creek. Beautifully written.""
—Susan C. Shea, author of Murder in the Abstract, a Dani O'Rourke mystery